Marie Carrubba On Right Track Toward Council Transparency

Marie Carrubba’s first official decision as City Council president was a good one.

Carrubba’s chose last week to place the two most senior members of the council — Republicans Tony Dolce and Kim Ecklund — on the council’s Finance Committee. While they would never admit it, committee assignments in the past have reeked of politics, such as the year when Kim Ecklund — a finance professional with Bush Industries — was assigned to the Public Works Committee. Given the city’s precarious financial position, having the three of the most senior and active council members on the Finance Committee makes the most sense.

We also note Carrubba’s desire to make the council more transparent. One way she can do that is to have standing reports each month through the committees. Joe Bellitto, city comptroller, has done a good job over the years keeping the council and the public updated with regular discussions of revenues and expenses throughout the year. We hope Carrubba takes this opportunity to have regular such discussions of other topics as well.

Police Chief Harry Snellings compiles detailed reports each month on crime in the city. While they are presented to the council, they have, to our knowledge, never been discussed during open sessions of the City Council nor reported out during the council’s work sessions. That should change. Similarly, the city’s MyGov system for housing code violations makes a discussion of housing issues and code compliance efforts easier than ever before. Vince DeJoy, city development director, does reports on code enforcement and MyGov statistics periodically, but such reports on housing issues should be done much more routinely. As it stands, the Housing Committee seems to be a missed opportunity to discuss one of the most pressing issues in the city. We hope that is something Carrubba, as a former chairman of the committee, can change in the coming year.

There are many things that happen in Jamestown that are out of the hands of the City Council and its president. One thing the council president can control is the type of discussion the council has with residents and the amount of information that is shared with residents. We hope Carrubba will live up to her word to be more transparent.